VILNIUS - An employee of Lithuania's Consulate General in Kaliningrad hit a child while driving in the Russian region earlier this year and as a result lost his diplomatic office, reports said.
Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis confirmed the news to Baltic News Service after reports surfaced in the Russian media.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported that on May 8 the vice-consul in Kaliningrad, Tomas Valiukas, had knocked down a 7-year-old boy while in his Opel and then drove away.
According to the daily, the consul was detained at the border where, under the cover of diplomatic immunity, he refused to answer questions. The child suffered serious head and leg traumas and was still in hospital, the Kaliningrad paper reported, though this news was refuted by a Lithuanian official.
Darius Jurgelevicius, the then Foreign Ministry undersecretary who investigated the incident, said the injuries were not serious and the boy was released from the hospital a few days later.
“Russia did not inform us about the incident officially. No criminal proceedings were taken, according to information available to us – only a traffic accident was registered. The former consul paid for the child's treatment,” said Jurgelevicius, who is currently deputy director general of the State Security Department.
Valionis said that after the offence came to light, the consul was dismissed and ordered to go back to Kaliningrad to give testimony to law enforcement officials.
According to information available to the minister, Valiukas has done this.
Valionis rejected the Russian daily's statement that the recent escalation of Lithuanian-Russian diplomatic ties was related with the hit-and-run incident.
“The recent escalation is first of all related with Lithuania's move to deport Russian diplomats for unlawful activity -- spying. We do not reconcile ourselves to this and will not reconcile,” the minister said. Last week Russia deported Lithuanian Military Attache Sigitas Butkus from Moscow and refused to accredit a new military attaché that Lithuania had proposed.